“The most striking thing about the new Batman movie…is its emphasis on sado-masochism as the animating element in American culture these days,” writes James Howard Kunstler in his “Clusterfuck Nation” column. “It must appeal to the many angry people in our land who want to hurt others, even while they themselves feel deserving of the grossest punishments. In other words, the picture reflects the extreme depravity of the current American sensibility. Seeing it all laid out there must be very validating to the emotionally confused audience, and hence pleasurable, in all its painfulness.
There is finally “the derivation of all this sadomasochistic nihilism out of a comic book,” he concludes. “How appropriate, since we have become a cartoon of a society living on a cartoon of a North American landscape, that the deepest source of our mythos comes from cartoons. We’re so far gone that real human emotion is beyond us. We’re too far gone — and even without shame — to care how this odious movie portrays us to the rest of the world. It is already making a fortune out there.”